With KRH getting close to 3 months old, I think my wife and I are now getting to the point where we can hopefully start to settle in and work on building the habits and behaviours that will get us through rest of our parental leave. I don’t think it’s too wild of a guess to suggest that this process is going to require both some flexibility, and a lot of learning.
Here’s the first example. For all that I used to be a huge night owl, in fact my most productive time is early in the day. Pre-noon is better, early morning is best. Not only does the rest of my day get better when I’ve knocked out some editing or a few thousand words in the morning, but that’s also the time when my brain is clearest and most effective (assuming I’ve gotten a half-decent rest the night before). I’m also more efficient if I get to this before I get on social media or the internet.
Pre-KRH, I experimented with getting some time in before I went to work, but that proved to be me stealing time from myself because I just couldn’t be a social human and still get to bed on time. I write best and feel best when I’m well-rested. I’m never well-rested, but there’s a big drop in how I feel between going to bed at 10 pm and getting up at 6:30 and going to bed at 11 and getting up at 6:30.
So, for the last year or two, I do my best to get in some writing time during the week after I get home from work, and then try to get up on the weekends to put in some solid hours before anything else happens. When I do that properly, I can get more done in a weekend than I did in the rest of the week.
That method hasn’t been working as well since KRH arrived. The problem, you see, is that since I was awake, if I heard KRH fussing early in the weekend, I’d go to him so my wife could sleep. He’s been giving us pretty solid stretches of 5-6 hours at night lately, but this habit began when my wife was getting more like 2-3 hours twice a night, so even if I could get her an extra hour, that was a big deal. It may shock you, though, to learn that listening for and then entertaining a baby wasn’t resulting in me getting a while lot done. KRH is very cute but he usually demands to be held and it’s tough to type with a baby on your shoulder, especially one who’s usually fussy for food.
That, combined with our weekends generally being really busy (seeing friends and family, doing things in the house, shopping and cooking for the week, errands and chores), meant that if I missed that time in the morning, I generally would get very little done on the weekends. And that, in turn, was tanking my weekly productivity.
This weekend, I had the opportunity to get down into my office and write in the morning both Saturday and Sunday. And the result was a lot of work done. Okay, great, but how do we make this work? My goal isn’t merely to abandon my wife to that time that I used to be helping.
So, we made a deal. In exchange for her getting up to feed KRK on the weekends (like she does on the weekdays) so I can write in the mornings, I agreed to take him for a longer period in the afternoon/evening. This is possible because, right now, he’s sleeping longer, but he also usually goes back to sleep after his morning feed. Bargaining, as it turns out, isn’t just a step in dealing with grief.
We’ll see how this works over the next week or two and if it’s a working solution for both of us. If not, then we’ll look for something else.
Meanwhile, my novel edit is proceeding. After getting nothing really done over Christmas I’m back to work. I’m making some progress fixing timeline errors and changes, and finding out that while there are some big plot holes, there are also some solid scenes and that the overall plot arc seems functional. That’s better than I’d feared!